I HAVE been a member of the St John Ambulance Toodyay Sub-Centre for about four years in a non-operational role as a weekend and relief phone coordinator.
The phone coordinators for the Toodyay sub-centre take calls from the State Communications Centre.
We are told the priority of the job, priority one being the highest for patients with possible life-threatening injuries or health issues – blue lights and sirens.
We are also asked to do hospital transfers from Northam to metropolitan hospitals and from regional towns which need a patient transferred to Northam.
The phone coordinator then calls out the crew which can be at any time during the day or night.
On almost every call I have taken over the past four years, Charlie Wroth has been on the line as well.
He has backed up almost every call 24 hours a day for years.
Charlie has always been there to give me advice if needed and provide support when required.
Because he is no longer able to be involved with St John in any capacity, I am feeling lost.
There are others who are as capable on the phones but it was Charlie who gave me the confidence to handle the most difficult calls.
When necessary, he would attend a call-out as a first responder, so if he was closer to the patient he could be there before the ambulance arrived.
All of this expertise and experience has now been lost to the Toodyay community.
St John in Toodyay will still have an ambulance there for you, day and night, seven days a week but be aware that we have lost one of our biggest hearts and a most dedicated volunteer.
I FIND it very difficult to understand how a man who has been a servant of this community for decades can all of a sudden be stripped of his dignity and status by people who do not know him.
As a vollie, Charlie Wroth has been a pillar of this community with his commitment and generosity to both the firies and ambos.
So far we have not been given any legitimate reason as to why he is being punished for speaking out and questioning the workings of St John Ambulance (SJA).
If pointing out failings in the system that affect the day-to-day workings of lifesaving volunteers is a crime, then SJA do not deserve to have the loyalty they get.
The decades of service that Charlie and others like him have given to our community should be cherished and not terminated for a lack of desire to listen and take on board the fact that the ambulance service in country WA is very different from that in the metropolitan area.
If every person who disagrees with St John Ambulance policies and procedures is to be treated the same as Charlie, very soon there will be no ambulance service in WA.
If St John can justify to the community why Charlie has been removed from office and effectively barred from the organisation, I would love to hear the reasons why – and so would the whole community.
St John’s actions should be a warning to all other vollies – speak out at your peril.
REGARDING the removal of the Toodyay Ambulance Sub-Centre chairperson by St John.
Firstly, my condolences to Charlie and his family.
They have been treated very poorly and unfairly by St John.
Secondly, I commend the ambo vollies who continue to service our town.
Most have said they do this for the community, not the organisation, and if there was an alternative service provider, that they would change uniform.
Be extra nice to them as they are doing it tough.
Thirdly, will any good come of this?
One can only hope that the public and political attention given to the matter might lead to a change of culture within management of St John.
Volunteers make a tremendous sacrifice in what they do.
It would be nice if they did it for, instead of despite, St John.
TOODYAY St John Ambulance Sub-Centre members heard of Charlie Wroth’s sacking via an after-hours email.
No reason was given and we remain uninformed.
Charlie and all other sub-centre chairpersons have been directed to remain silent, leaving Charlie open to scrutiny and personal defamation.
Ironically, in April this year, Charlie received one of the highest accolades from St John for his outstanding service to St John and community.
I applaud Charlie and his family who have sacrificed much in the name of St John.
Our sub-centre thrived under Charlie’s leadership.
At the time of his sacking Charlie held the chair and was a sub-centre training facilitator, driver trainer, mentor, first responder, first aider and cross-community-organisation link – an unsurpassed contribution.
St John management must reconsider their treatment of volunteers who are shrugged off when issues are raised.
We have no external association to take our concerns to.
They care little about volunteers, except to ensure we minimise their spending on paid paramedics in regional areas.
Despite St John management’s attitude, please be reassured our local Toodyay ambulance volunteers will continue to provide an uninterrupted, compassionate service for those needing an ambulance –because we do care.
I FOR one am glad for the alternate perspective and well-researched, lesser-known information offered by Stirling Hamilton in his Herald column Ol’ Blind Joe.
Historic and present-day manipulation of other countries and atrocities perpetrated in our name by the powers that be lead to generations of hatred.
No matter how much you dislike the customs of another culture, two wrongs don’t make a right.
Lack of empathy, fixation on the almighty dollar and an ‘I’m alright Jack’ attitude comes before a fall.
Left, right or brindle, if the greed-ridden money lenders and those deeply beholden to them aren’t constantly scrutinised and held to account, we’ll end up with multitudes of very angry, disinherited, hungry souls of many creeds on our doorstep.
Living is easy with eyes closed – in the short term.
WE WOULD like to express our sincere thanks to the Toodyay Lions Club for their generous donation of $500 to purchase 11 Digitech Rechargeable Headphones for members of the Toodyay community who are living with memory loss/dementia.
The headphones with in-built FM radio, microphone and SD Card (to record music) are proving to be a huge success with the local recipients.
With the number of people throughout Australia living with dementia increasing daily, and music being recognised as providing a calm and relaxing influence, the residents of Toodyay are extremely fortunate in having a progressive and forward-thinking Lions Club to assist them through this indiscriminate life-changing journey.
If anyone in Toodyay is living with memory loss/dementia and has not yet received their free set of headphones please contact Angi on 0468 549 143.
BIG THANKS to Toodyay Cr Paula Greenway and the shire rangers – especially Chris – who helped with a situation that wasn’t your usual dog-related incident.
I won’t go into the details but a potentially messy situation for all involved was resolved in a timely manner without too much stress overall.
I found the rangers’ commonsense approach, professionalism and excellent customer service a credit to the shire.
Thanks again Cr Greenway for your phone call, even though you were on leave at the time, and Chris who did an outstanding job in an unusual situation.
I RECENTLY submitted an opinion piece (more than 750 words) to The Toodyay Herald about the Toodyay Road upgrade.
I was told it could not be published because The Herald does not publish lengthy opinions from readers unless the author has a particular expertise in the subject,
I was invited to reduce it to half its length for publication as a Letter to the Editor but I can’t do that.
Anyone interested can contact me for a copy.
HOW SAD to read Dave Wakeman is being harassed by the shire and a neighbour because of a horse in rural Toodyay.
I am sure there are rules in place but the shire has been known to play loose with the rules on occasions, which it is entitled to do.
For instance, some years ago two non-conforming businesses were allowed to operate within a short distance of each other in Picnic Hill Road.
One was approved after the usual application was lodged but the other was approved retrospectively because it was already operating when the shire became aware of its existence.
In comparison, an extra horse on a rural property pales into insignificance.
Among the conditions set out to allow the extra horse, I think the one to prevent manure leaching into groundwater was a gem.
I only hope our councillors don’t realise there are quite a few sheep, cattle, horses and alpacas roaming around properties in Toodyay on which there are no controls for the prevention of their manure leaching into groundwater.
A lot of us will be in trouble when they do realise.
CONGRATULATIONS to the organisers and supporters of Opera in the Valley – a world-class, sold-out performance by Emma Pettemerides supported by Tommaso Pollio and Harriet Marshall.
Ms Pettemerides sparkled with a glint in her dazzling eyes, engaging smile and ability to draw the audience.
The repertoire included arias from the Marriage of Figaro and Die Fledermaus and contemporary songs.
It was an absolutely entertaining evening and an excuse to bring out the ‘glad rags’.
The proceeds of the evening went to support the running of 2020 Toodyay Musical Fest.
Toodyay is extremely fortunate to have such an exciting talent as Emma Pettemerides within our community.